Networking is an important part of anyone’s job hunt, but there are circumstances that make traditional networking especially challenging. On Facebook recently, an Idealist asked this question about job hunting:
"I am moving to a new city in a few months as my partner just accepted an offer for his dream job. Unfortunately, I do not have a network in this area. When should I start applying and how can I build a network before I get there?"
CareeRealism suggests starting off with a goal and a plan in place. You can’t find a new job in a new city if you don’t have an idea of what you want to do. From there, they recommend using social media, trying to get introductions to as many people as you can, and becoming a local.
"Read the local papers, often communities have free papers that provide information on local happenings. Again, these may not be related to the niche you hope to network yourself into, but you will be able to meet people and learn how they network. Additionally, knowing your new community will unavoidably help you feel more connected and give you something to talk to people about."
"Attend local events. They are often free and frequently a little colloquial, but that is exactly the point! Soak up as much of this local flavor as you can and let it envelop you until it becomes part of you. Enjoy getting to know the goings on, even if it sometimes seems silly at first."
On Idealist.org there are tons of events listed, so feel free to use those to get to know more people once you move to the area. Prior to the transition, use online tools! Social media has made it easy to connect with people who share your interests no matter where they are, and you can meet up once you’ve made the move.
As for the timing, the earlier you can get started with the search, the better. This doesn’t mean you have to start sending out resumes five months in advance, but you can start reading local news, connecting with people on social media, and following the community.
Once you start applying, be honest about the fact that you aren’t currently in the city, but in your cover letter, include the date of your move (if you know it) and, if you feel comfortable, your reasons for moving, to show you are serious about making this transition. Mention that you can use Skype to do interviews, or offer dates when you will be visiting the city for interview times. Even if the timing doesn’t work out for one position, at least you can get your foot in the door and learn more about the needs of this new community.